Estate planning is a difficult area for many to think about and as a result is often not addressed. For some there seems to be a misconception that you don’t need to think about it till you are older/unwell or that by taking action you are tempting fate in some way. As professional advisers we encourage all our clients to think about the future and ensure that their affairs are in order, their wishes can be upheld and any taxes which may be due are minimised. Everyone is different and the action needed therefore varies.
Having an up to date Will in place which reflects your current wishes is arguably one of the most important things you can do. A Will is a legally binding document which states how you wish your estate to be handled upon death. Not only does it make things easier for your loved ones, but it can also help prevent a lengthy and costly legal process.
Another important legal document is a Power of Attorney (PoA). This document is drawn up when you have the capacity to do so and gives someone, known as the attorney, the legal authority to take action and make decisions on your behalf in relation to your financial/property matters and/or personal welfare. A PoA will be used when you become incapable and thus unable to make decisions yourself, although can be used prior to this to help you with your finances. Without a PoA your family/friends potentially could have to go to court to seek authority to act on your behalf.
It is important that you regularly review your plans and ensure that your Will and PoA remain up to date and reflect your current wishes, as circumstances can change over time.
It’s never too early to plan for the future and the recent coronavirus pandemic has highlighted to us all that we never know what is around the corner. Speaking with professional advisers such as ourselves is often crucial in this. If you have any concerns around this or need some assistance, drop us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org